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Endymion expected to provide welcome relief to Mid-City businesses

The crowd along Canal street clamors for beads during the 2019 Endymion parade. (Zach Brien, MidCItyMessenger.com)

By Jeanne D’arcy, Mid-City Messenger

Mid-City businesses breathed a sigh of relief when Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the Endymion parade will be rolling on its Mid-City route in 2022.

“The Endymion parade is Mardi Gras for Mid-City,” said Dennis Scheuermann, the owner of Wit’s Inn on North Carrollton Avenue.

“In fact, I remember when there were a number of parades that rolled in Mid-City,” he continued. “So if we lost the one that still has a Mid-City route, it would be quite unfortunate. We need this parade — now, more than ever.” 

Not only do the businesses in Mid-City benefit from the parade, but schools and churches on or near the route make extra money from parking cars, selling water and hosting revelers. 

The parade, however, has been marred by tragedy in recent years. The 2020 parade was halted and eventually cancelled after a spectator was struck and killed between a tandem float. In 2019, a drunken driver killed two cyclists and injured seven as they were leaving the parade route. The deaths occurred two years after another drunken driver careened onto the Carrollton neutral ground and injured 28 spectators.

Staff shortages across the city’s public safety agencies — including the police, fire and emergency medical departments — prompted the city to streamline the parade routes for the 2022 Carnival season. 

A lack of police manpower following Hurricane Katrina sent the Endymion parade to the Uptown route for 2006 and 2007, a change that had a negative effect on local small businesses. So before the mayor’s announcement on Dec. 21, Mid-City business owners nervously waited to see whether the Endymion parade would stay on its traditional route.

Cantrell said krewe members convinced her to keep the parade in Mid-City. “Their main thing is, ‘Thank you for keeping us in Mid-City,’” Cantrell said at a Dec. 21 news conference. “What they (Endymion officials) want most is their route in Mid-City. And I’m very happy we can continue that tradition.”

Scot Craig, the owner of Katie’s Restaurant on Iberville Street, reiterated the need for the parade to roll in Mid-City in 2022.

“Every day is a curve ball during this pandemic. It would have been a major disappointment if the route of Endymion was moved from Mid-City,” he said. “We love Endymion — it’s a party.”

Craig sees repeat customers who have been coming to Katie’s during Endymion weekend for many years. The week leading up to the popular parade is always busy, he said, and the restaurant gets a tremendous boost from Endymion Saturday.

“Especially with the situation for restaurants now, it would have been bad for us if the Endymion route had been moved,” Craig said. 

According to Scheuermann of Wit’s Inn, a lot of Mid-City businesses count on the revenue from Endymion weekend to pay their property taxes. 

“If Endymion didn’t roll in Mid-City,” he said, “some of those businesses would have to borrow money to make up the difference.” 

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